Former mayor Jose “Joey” Torres’ administration had a company carry out work at the former Vistas site beyond the scope of its contract.
Municipal officials approved a $14,350 payment to LTI, Inc. of Florham Park last Tuesday for landscaping work the firm completed at the Vistas Park.
Public works director William “Billy” Rodriguez said the firm handled the work at the site two years ago.
“This was a job that was authorized by the former mayor,” said councilman Michael Jackson. “He thought he was going to bring it to the council for post-approval that’s not how the process works.”
Jackson suggested not paying the contractor for the work. He said the contractor should have known not to do work without council approval.
“The procurement process is clear,” said Jackson. “They understand the process. They know you don’t do work prior to it being approved. If you do, then you were doing it in-kind or gratis.”
Councilman William McKoy pointed out the administration directed the company to do the work.
Withholding payment would lead to litigation that would likely cost more than the payment amount, said officials.
The city skirted procurement rules by assigning the work to LTI. Municipal officials should have obtained price quotes from different firms before awarding the job, according to the resolution approving the payment, which recognizes the job was awarded through a “non-fair and open” process.